Museums in Brooklyn

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In 1899, program directors at what is today's Brooklyn Children's Museum decided to transform an old family mansion into a museum geared toward children. Anna Billings Gallup headed up the first crew of curators, who transformed the space into the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the world's first youth-geared institution of its kind.

Today, the museum preserves Gallup's world-renowned passion for educating children along with more than 30,000 objet d'anthropology, from shark jawbones to tribal masks. Eight standing exhibits, a greenhouse, and a garden aim to entertain kids and families and include an exploration of world culture. The Sensory Room provides an interactive experience for special-needs children, with visual, auditory, and motor-skills-related activities. The museum also teaches future generations about sustainability with a curriculum based on the building's own inner workings, which are certified green by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

145 Brooklyn Ave.
Brooklyn,
NY
US

Like pigeons to a Central Park statue, the fragments of New York's history congregate at not-for-profit The City Reliquary Museum, which also acts as a civic organization that serves the five boroughs. There, past a bright red door and a canary-yellow awning, visitors find terracotta shards of landmark buildings, old-fashioned subway tokens, paint chips from the L train, and a wall of antique Statue of Liberty postcards. A shrine to Jackie Robinson celebrates a Civil Rights icon that contemporaries could have read about in an old-fashioned newsstand like the one preserved in an alcove in the next room. Other highlights of the museum include a rotating exhibition hall, a World's Fair archive, and a set of geological core samples that contain the seeds of the Big Apple. Through permanent display of New York City artifacts, rotating exhibits of community collections, and annual cultural events, The City Reliquary connects visitors to both the past and present of New York. The New York Post said the little storefront "celebrates Brooklyn?s underdog spirit with exacting curatorial detail," and the AV Club called it simply, warmly, "the city's oddest museum."

370 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn,
NY
US

One of the Brooklyn Historical Society’s current exhibitions, “Inventing Brooklyn: People, Places, Progress,” traces the forces that transformed the area from its Native American origins to its present state as a thriving metropolis. That exhibit reflects the society as a whole, which was founded in 1863 to celebrate Brooklyn’s history and evolution. The museum also houses exhibits that extend beyond pure history, such as “Say Cheese! Portraits to Pics,” a record of family portraiture that includes vintage daguerreotypes, detailed Etch-a-Sketches from the 1960's, and modern digital snapshots.

To complement the exhibits, the society also runs the Othmer library, a nationally recognized research library with archives of local photography, manuscripts, and oral histories from more than 300 narrators, many of which focus on specific themes such as Brooklyn Navy Yard Workers or the Williamsburg Giglio Festival. The society’s staff also takes their expertise out into the community to helm walking tours that criss-cross the borough, host off-site exhibits, and work extensively in local schools.

128 Pierrepont St
Brooklyn,
NY
US

What makes it great: evenings packed with fun activities, including viewings of short films, access to Michelin-rated food, live music and dancing, hands-on creative activities, and talks from industry professionals in art and design

200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn,
NY
US

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